NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 3)

Since it’s Sunday, (I’ve no idea why that matters to Maureen Thorson [Napo creator and prompt director], but I acknowledge that most folks who work do so on approximately five of the other six days) so today’s NaPo prompt is (she said “a bit”) complex. I’m to write a poem in a Spanish form called glosa (or glose). Glosa explains or responds to another poem or part of one. Until today, I was unfamiliar with this form, but now I am intrigued by it.


  1. a) A cabeza (or motto) – the quatrain borrowed from another poet, whose authorship must be acknowledged.
  2. b) Four 10-line stanzas, each ending with one of the lines in sequence from the cabeza.
  3. c) A rhyme-scheme requirement that lines 6 and 9 rhyme with the final word of line 10.

It seems challenging, but “The point of any formal (poem) constraint is primarily to put you under pressure to write a little differently from your default style, and in the case of the glosa, you’re forced to participate quite explicitly in the work of another poet, many new possibilities for writing differently can be magically released.

“There’s great scope for playing with this form, by varying the constraints. You could choose a different stanza length, write in free verse, in a metre of your choice, or in syllabics; dispense with rhyme or increase the amount of rhyme; use a different length of cabeza, or introduce the lines of the cabeza in different positions in your stanza.” ~ John Wheway, “How to write a Glosa.” (

I did the prompt and followed the form as closely as I could, except for one rhyme. Who cares, right?

The most difficult part of this was browsing through my favorite poets to find the perfect quatrain, then to cull that dozen down to one.

I could feel the day offering itself to me
and I wanted nothing more
than to be in the moment—but which moment?
Not that one, or that one, or that one

From the book, The Trouble with Poetry (and other poems): “In the Moment,” by Billy Collins.

Life’s Moments

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
they’d ask, “Do you have a girl friend?
I needed answers. Also, “How was school today?”
I grew up without ever knowing
what it was I wanted to be.
I married young and that stopped
all questions about any girlfriend,
and then one day I woke on up.
The value of school I started to see
I could feel the day offering itself to me.

One day at a time, moment by moment
I lived my life, and I slowly learned
what I wanted to do, he who I wanted to be
even though, before, I didn’t know or want
to be the he who was evolving into me.
Each day of my life I opened another door.
The important people in my life called me
Bill or Dad or Opa, not sir or major.
I finally had my feet on the floor
and I wanted nothing more.

Forty million moments later I knew
the answers to so many of their questions
but I can’t tell them now, not that they
ever really cared, like everyone does
after they’ve grown up (if they do),
they’re all gone now to find others to torment.
So little I remember, the work I did,
the people I loved (and those I did not)
I think about my future, I want nothing more
than to be in the moment—but which moment?

I wish I could tell them now
what I didn’t know then, what I’ve become,
and how I made my way, and what
I have to say. I never liked school,
a necessary evil at best,
but that’s all long over and done.
I’ve paid my dues. Didn’t always give my best
even when life was some questioning test.
I try moments and memories I could’ve become,
Not that one, or that one, or that one, …

Look both ways to the future and the past
but live every moment like it might be your last.
Mind the gaps and the questions, but live long into the answers.

For Want of a Poem

Sometimes, I want a poem. A Bukowski can be so easy, but seldom sweet or relaxing. Or maybe something by Auden, Oliver, Kaur, Bloch, or Hughes. Or a Tony Hoagland piece about the word dickhead or a barbeque with friends. A Billy Collins poem is usually more of a clean-cut, smooth-spoken, New York laureate who smiles while staring out windows.

The right poem is like a cool glass of clean water, one you don’t know you need until you drink it. So, refreshing; may I have another?

Music helps but poetry works. I read slow and silently. I may move my lips. Maybe I’ll read the poem out loud to hear it in my voice. Or I’ll listen to poems read by one of the great poetic pros. Men with rich rhythmic baritone or base voice tones like Morgan Freeman, Tom O’Bedlam, James Earl Jones, or Johnny Cash. Maybe I’ll hear the fun wrangler sound of some cowboy poet. Or the attractive Brit accents of Sirs Sean Connery, Anthony Hopkins, or Patrick Stewart.

Please spare me the stoic, boring, cackling of electronic automatic computer-generated readings by unconscious semi-robots. Why do they do that? It is poetry. Speaking of dickhead decisions. Just no. I can’t!

When I don’t know what’s wrong with me, or what I need, or what I want, the right poem helps.

Sometimes we need to share darkness or a sad bit of life. It’s comforting that while we may be alone, we are not the only ones feeling lost.

Look both ways for refuge from the storms.
Mind the gaps. Ignore the dickheads.
Wear a mask and get the shot.

Poetry: Me in Drawing Class (NaPoWriMo day 5)

For this prompt, I was to select an existing poem and write my poem using the shape (form, style, beat) of the original. Each of my lines must begin with the same first letter of the corresponding line in the original poem.

For this assignment, I selected two Billy Collins poems. For shape, I chose “Class Picture 1954” (click to read it). I picked “Drawing Class” for subject and musings. Mr. Collins enjoyed his drawing class much more than I did. But we both like to draw.

Me in Drawing Class

I took the art class
for my drawing to improve.

To the instructor I was not
special nor obedient because
to me, she was retentive and inflexible.

The first day she belittled tardy.
I was early. Most were on time.
Is she too good to teach me?

At the front and center
in my surgical mask,
was I to be her basic class problem?

Because I claim my work
instead of me making art her way;
oh, how we entertained the others.

What’s so bad about using graphite?
And why is it carbon or charcoal
you think superior to what tool I use?

And now we’re done.
So class is over,
another moody artist goes his way.

Look both ways in dealing with the artsy types.
Mind the gaps, but graphite works equally well.